Deworming & Vaccinating
Yes, puppies are prone to having worms or intestinal parasites. We routinely deworm our puppies and adults prior to going home. This is done for their better health and to prevent any transfer to us, their human family. Don’t worry, with a regular deworming schedule, these will not be a problem.
Some worms to watch for are:
Tapeworms are passed through raw meat, contaminated food/water, in stool. They look like a piece of rice stuck to the stool and can be transferred by fleas. If they are on your puppy/dog, they are hard to see because they are so small.
These can be fatal, if left unchecked. Mosquitoes transfer heartworm but your puppy can not get it from another puppy, unless the mosquito bites both the affected dog and the unaffected dog. Heartworms live in the heart of their hosts and can get up to 6” long. If your pet has heartworm, they will not show any signs of it until it has become quite advanced.
Roundworm is the most common worm in puppies/dogs. These worms are whitish in colour and look like a piece of spaghetti when they are passed. Puppies/dogs are infected by coming in contact with infected stool and make their way to the lungs. They can be coughed up and sometimes re-swallowed. They may pass in their stool as well. They can be transferred to humans. Children are particularly susceptible to them.
Hookworms are passed through stool. Because they eat blood, their teeth bite into the intestines of their host as they move around and reattach several times a day. They can cause anemia in their hosts.
Ringworm is not a worm at all, rather, it is a fungus. It starts to show 10-14 days after contact. It starts off looking a little bit like a pimple, a small red bump. Then it changes in time and looks like a flat round patch of rash, and it can get yellow crusty areas. It can easily be treated with topical medicine from your vet.
Ear Mites are tiny parasites that live in the ear canal of dogs and cats. Dogs tend to scratch at their ears when they have them. Taking a cotton swab and wiping their ears with it may reveal dirty, black material. These are the mites. Please note, however, an ear infection can also produce a black substance, so it is important to determine which it is. Ear mites are easily treatable with mineral oil or ear mite solution found in vet and pet stores.
Parasites can feel scary, but they are easily prevented! There are some great products on the market to combat this issue. Rather than making your puppy into a hermit and recluse, never letting them go outside or meet anyone, it’s best to just keep to a regular deworming schedule that works for you and your puppy.
Although stool samples are helpful, they are not necessary in deciding on a worming schedule. Deworming is the most cost effective way to keep you and your puppy healthy! Parasites have a 3-4 week lifecycle from larva to adult stages. This means if you deworm, you kill the adults, but the larva are not affected, so deworming needs to happen again 3-4 weeks after the first deworming. Putting together a routine schedule with the help of your veterinarian will minimize the effect of these parasites on you and your puppy.
Vaccinating Puppies – Preventative Medicine for Puppy Health
We believe in vaccinating puppies and we are pleased in your interest in the subject. To help you make your decision easier and let you know what is ahead for this little one, we have done our best to put together some answers to some common questions about puppy shots. This is not exhaustive, but it should give you a glimpse into what is recommended for your puppy.
We give our puppies a distemper shots starting at week 8 and 12 weeks. It is suggested to continue the vaccination schedule at 16 weeks, too.
All puppies, regardless of gender and breed receive the same vaccination, in the same amount. So, that means a miniature labradoodle doesn’t get less than a standard labradoodle. The vaccines generally come in a 1 cc dose that is slipped under the skin. It is described as feeling like a “large mosquito bite”. It is more of an annoying feeling to the puppy than a feeling of pain.
Our basic puppy vaccinations include:
- Canine Distemper
- Adenovirus Type 2: this protects against cough and hepatitis
- Parainfluenza (Kennel Cough)
Before Puppy Vaccination Happens
When puppies are born, they receive antibodies from their mom. Within the first 24-36 hours of being born, the puppies will have had a high dose of colostrum in their mom’s milk. Colostrum is rich in various nutrients such as proteins, fats, and minerals. It also has antibodies to help ward off infections and viruses until they have received puppy shots or their own immunity kicks in.
These antibodies get absorbed in the small intestine, where there are the largest amount of nerves and blood vessels nearby. Because they are so close in proximity, the blood absorbs the proteins efficiently in order to protect the puppy from viruses and bacteria. Their immune system takes a few days to get started.
The first puppy vaccinations are given at the time when the colostrum effects are beginning to wane. The exact time when the colostrum is at its least varies from puppy to puppy, so successive shots are necessary. The most critical puppy shot is given at week 16.
Other Puppy Shots
Depending on your lifestyle and comfort level, there are other puppy vaccinations that can be given to your puppy as she grows:
- Canine Bordetella – (Canine Cough), this is often required if you will be showing or boarding your dog for any length of time.
- Rabies – If you are in contact with wildlife or other pets, this is a must.
- Lyme – If you live in a tick hot spot, this may be a good option for you